Hello and thank you for your question. I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practicing lawyer in England with over 10 years experience.
May I ask undert the terms of your contract with the company did you agree to purchase the stock? If not on what terms were you to hold the stock?
i dont buy any stock. the saddles were used as demonstration models from which customers place orders for new made to measure saddles after trying one of the demo models.
Thanks. So you simply hold the saddles as agent for the company and title remains with the company at all times and there is no obligation on your part to purchase the saddles?
lyes exactly right. i am paid a commission from the sale of the new made to measure saddle.
Thanks. Finally did the company provide you with any rules about storing the saddles - e.g. were you asked to keep the saddles in the van at all times or move them to another location when the van is not in use? Did they ask you to remove the saddles before you delivered the van for repairs?
in the beginning we were told that the saddles were only insured while on the van. They did not ask me to remove the stock before the van was repaired. initially i did remove the saddles to allow me to keep working, but when they asked for the van and stock back i placed the saddles back on the van. i was waiting for the garage to remove the tow bar i had paid for. when i went to collect the vehicle to return it they recused to let it go until the account was cleared.
Thank you. There would appear to be principally two bases in these circumstances that the company can seek to claim the cost of the saddles from you. The first is if they can show a contractual obligation for you to purchase the saddles as stock from them as your agent - i.e. some companies require their agents to buy their demonstration stock. However here you say there is no such requirement in your agreement so this would not be a basis for them to claim against you in these circumstances.
we did not sign any contracts and verbally it was agreed they would provide a van and stock to allow us to work for them.
The other basis would be if they can show a breach of obligation or negligence on your part as their agent in taking care of the stock. This may be possible if they could show you were specifically instructed to only store the saddles in the van whilst transporting them for example or specifically instructed you to remove the saddles from the van before taking it to the garage and you ignored their instruction. From what you say they required you to keep the saddles in the van for insurance purposes and at no time altered this instruction in respect of delivering the van to the garage. Accordingly I cannot see there is any basis on which to claim against you on the grounds of breach of conditino or negligence.
As such the initial approach would appear to be to reply to the company to deny liability for the invoice on the basis that there is no obligation for you to purchase their stock and that in any event they are not able to pass title to the stock becuase it is subject to a lien by the garage. Consider requesting them to issue a credit note within 7 days.
thank you joshua i will finally manage to sleep tonight
In the event they wish to pursue the matter they would need to issue proceedings in the county court against you which presumably you would defend on the above basis.
A pleasure. If I can assist any further as the situation develops please do not hesitate to revert to me
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i will thank you